Opalís Influx of 1850

By LISA SMITH

White County Historical Society 1982 White County Heritage

In 1850, ten couples from Tennessee headed west in covered wagons. Only the names of six of the couples can be remembered. Their names were Davis, Sanford, Hill, Kirkpatrick, Cross and Massey. They settled in an area ten miles west of Beebe in White County. Wild animals such as bears, panthers and hogs roamed freely. Indians lived only one mile away.

Their houses were built by the log-row method in which families met together and helped build each otherís homes. These houses were made out of white oak logs, corner pegs and square nails.

They named their new settlement Opal and the first community building was the Opal Post Office in which dances were held. Mail was delivered by horseback. A blacksmith shop was built next. The stagecoach stopped here to change horses and have work done on the stagecoach if needed. The blacksmith drove spikes in the trees around the settlement to hitch horses.

Just past the settlement was a dangerous road. It was so narrow that only one wagon could use it at a time. This was called the Narrow Lane. Before Mr. Massey died he picked the place to have the Massey Cemetery where he was buried. Four other generations of Masseys also are buried there.

Now the Smiths own the old Massey homestead and distant relatives of the settler still live in the community. None of the old buildings remain. All that is left are arrowheads from the Indians, the Massey Cemetery near Highway 64, spikes in the trees and an old well which was near one of the houses.